Greetings, Nerd Bastards readers, Jake here from The Hall of Comics – where heroes shop. I’m a bag and boarded professional. My passion (and business) is to read, write about and sell comics. In an alliance forged in the stars, The Hall of Comics will be dropping by Nerd Bastards weekly, to bring you the latest word and the weeks best pulls in comics. So sit back, grab a snack, and check out what latest comic titles you should be reading.
Staring at this week’s pile of reads, I was a little underwhelmed because there were no shiny, new toys to play with. But one after the other, my tried-and-true favorites not only shone through, but rose higher. There is one new series to talk about and I’ll warn you now that I’m flying my nerd-love flag for Jason Aaron extra high this week.
Star Wars #7 is the first truly successful issue in the series. In it, Aaron makes the smart move of avoiding the imperial entanglements that come with trying to shoehorn new continuity between Episodes IV and V. Instead, he delves into the fertile question of, “What the poodoo was Ol’ Ben doing all those years that he was hiding in the galaxy’s biggest sandbox?” Jason Aaron does better writing conflicted, ronin-type characters than he does ensemble casts with quirky banter. Kenobi is a fan favorite and we’ve always deserved to see what happened to turn him from Ewan McGregor into Alec Guinness. It’ll make you wish that this series was called Obi Wan Kenobi and not Star Wars.
You may not recognize Richard Matheson’s name, but you know his stories; I Am Legend and a whole bunch of Twilight Zone, classic Star Trek, and other sci-fi television was either written or inspired by him. He published his novel, The Shrinking Man, in 1956 and a movie of it came out in ’57. This adaptation is a small story (bad pun, but true) that certainly has an odd intimacy, not unlike what you’d find in a Twilight Zone episode. The story flashes back & forth from when Scott Carey first finds out that his body is shrinking to when he’s merely 5/7″ tall. The dialogue between he & his wife in the early stages is at the same time genuine and dated – by that I mean of the 50s era, not stilted. The realness of their fright is just as interesting as how tiny Carey must traverse his basement floor, an act that could be fatal. As a comic, it’s only handicap is Marc Torres’s art. The loose anatomy and awkward faces amount to so much distortion that it distracts from the drama and peril. A traditional, straightforward style would have been much more affective, but I’ll still read this series through to the end.
It might seem like I’m wasting an entry on another Jason Aaron book. For that matter, wasting another entry on a book that I’ve recommended before. But I can’t pass on a book that gets increasingly better with each issue. If you’ve watched Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, you know how their plots will branch off to follow seemingly minor characters that have their own compelling tale to tell. Aaron’s done that before in his epic tragedy, Scalped and now in this week’s Southern Bastards #10. Lots of older, less sophisticated comics use their characters to tell stories of action & epic feats. Aaron uses action to tell stories about characters. This series is a consistently enjoyable read and everyone should try it. If you didn’t like the first story arc, it’s time to revisit it because the story is always evolving.
The mystery surrounding a series of murders in Battleworld deepens, as the Thors police force struggles to solve it. One piece of the puzzle is that all the victims are different versions of the same person – Jane Foster. Beta Ray Bill was killed while pursuing the truth and now his partner, Ultimate Thor, has made it a personal mission. In this issue, we see him get some unwanted help from the last Thor he ever wanted to see. There’s a couple of new Thor appearances and an additional murder victim that’s a bit of a head-scratcher. This Norse detective procedural is one of my very favorite series in the Secret Wars event. I’ll give you three guesses who writes it.
Ask yourself a really hard question: “Why aren’t I reading Lazarus? I like stories by Greg (Daredevil, Detective Comics, Gotham Central) Rucka. I like Michael (the same Daredevil and Gotham Central stories) Lark’s art. I like exciting and mysterious female protagonists who can kick butt and take charge. I like the kind of deceptive power plays & family politics that one sees in Game of Thrones. And I like creative world building that’s a little futuristic but rooted in reality and science. So why the heck why aren’t I reading Lazarus?” Wow, that’s a really good question. If you don’t have a good answer, I recommend picking up this week’s issue – it makes a good jumping on point. (But the last issue would be even better if you can find that.)
Only a sick and hateful person wouldn’t agree that chocolate and peanut butter go great together. But combining two great things isn’t always a good idea. I may be the only person who bristled at the news of Mark Hamill voicing the Joker in the upcoming animated Killing Joke project. For my money, Hamill rivals Heath Ledger as the quintessential Joker on film. After he secured the role in BTAS, I would always hear his voice as I read any Joker story. But the stories in which he’s played the character are veeerrry different from what Alan Moore created in the Killing Joke. I don’t think I want my Mark Hamill Joker crippling (and who knows what else?) Barbara Gordon. I don’t think I want my Mark Hamill humiliating Jim Gordon, fetish style, and then facing down Batman in one of the darkest endings the Caped Crusader has ever known, one with a ringing sense of finality. I hope to be wrong – I mean, Hamill’s skill as a voice talent is awe-inspiring – and I’ll be torn as I watch it, enjoying hearing him take on the role again, while wishing it was a voice that I didn’t associate with past stories that weren’t written by Alan Moore.
Alright kiddies, that’s it for me this week. Tune in next week for another addition of “Meanwhile at The Hall of Comics”. Wanna know what else is out this week? Check out the full list of releases at The Hall of Comics NEW RELEASE page HERE.
*The Hall of Comics is the comic book fan’s ideal store. We strive to earn the respect of every collector who walks through our doors, from long time fanatics to speculators to brand new fans. This always-passionate, always-original community is what we thrive on. We’re excited to inspire our fellow fans and share with them our love of reading as well as collecting.
The Hall of Comics is located at 3 Turnpike Road in Southborough, MA!